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  • © 2021

Political Parties and Campaigning in Australia

Data, Digital and Field

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

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  • Presents new qualitative data about the production of campaigns, which is unmatched in the field

  • Explores contemporary election campaign practices that have emerged in Australia and other democratic systems

  • Applies an integrated approach through a deep and broad engagement with empirical research and theoretical debates

Part of the book series: Political Campaigning and Communication (PCC)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-68234-7
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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 1-21
  3. Theorising Contemporary Campaign Practices

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 23-43
  4. Data and Analytics

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 45-67
  5. Campaigning Online

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 69-91
  6. Winning the ‘Ground War’

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 93-117
  7. Voter Attitudes to Data-Driven Campaigning

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 141-163
  8. Campaigning and Political Parties

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 165-181
  9. Conclusion

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 183-195
  10. Research Appendix

    • Glenn Kefford
    Pages 197-212
  11. Back Matter

    Pages 213-218

About this book

“Glenn Kefford has dragged scholarship about party campaigning into the modern day, with a study that for the first time properly integrates the campaign elements of data, digital and field work.”

Stephen Mills, University of Sydney, Australia

“This compellingly written, ground-breaking book is underpinned by a treasure trove of original analyses: from participant observation in fieldwork campaigns, extensive interviews with party insiders, to public opinion data.”

Ariadne Vromen, Australian National University, Australia

“Kefford offers the most extensive analysis of contemporary campaigning to date in the field.... This is a fascinating and nuanced account of how data is powering digital and field campaigning, and how its effects might be less directly on voters and more on parties as organizations.”

Daniel Kreiss, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA

“Presenting unparalleled insight into the activities of Australian parties, Glenn Kefford dives beneath the hype and sensationalised reporting of political campaigns to offer a detailed, and vitally important discussion of how parties actually work… this book makes an important contribution to debates on political parties that will resonate far beyond Australia's shores.”

Katharine Dommett, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Big data and microtargeting steal the headlines about campaigning. But how important are they really to the way that political parties campaign? This book provides a fine-grained account of the campaign practices of three Australian political parties. It explores how prevalent data-driven campaigning is, introduces an original theoretical framework to understand these practices, and demonstrates that there is a disconnect between what Australian voters think about these issues and the way that parties campaign in the 21stcentury. Drawing on 161 interviews, participant observation and original survey data, it shows that the reality of contemporary campaigning is often different to what we are led to believe.

Glenn Kefford is a lecturer in political science at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow for 2019-2021.

Keywords

  • digital campaigning
  • field campaigning
  • political parties
  • Australian politics
  • elections
  • party membership

Reviews

“Glenn Kefford has dragged scholarship about party campaigning into the modern day, with a study that for the first time properly integrates the campaign elements of data, digital and field work. Kefford has interviewed scores of campaigners in three Australian political parties, while also undertaking participant observation of campaigning on the ground. He brings a sceptical and astute mindset to the task of appraising this data and constructing a new theoretical model of contemporary campaigning and its effect on party organisation; the result will be of benefit to scholars internationally.” (Dr Stephen Mills, University of Sydney, Australia, author of ‘The Professionals’ and ‘The New Machine Men’.)

“Kefford writes “To say that liberal democracy is in trouble is to state the bleeding obvious”. But are new forms of data-driven campaigning the answer? This compellingly written, ground-breaking book is underpinned by a treasure trove of original analyses: from participant observation in fieldwork campaigns, extensive interviews with party insiders, to public opinion data. But its answer is an emphatic ‘no’ – we are systematically shown that parties are clumsy at persuading voters and Australian voters remain sceptical of parties.” (Professor Ariadne Vromen, Sir John Bunting Chair of Public Administration, Australian National University, Australia, and author of Digital Citizenship and Political Engagement: The Challenge from Online Campaigning and Advocacy Organisations)

“Kefford offers the most extensive analysis of contemporary campaigning to date in the field through the lens of Australian political parties. Australia in particular offers a fascinating case study of campaign attempts at persuasion given compulsory voting – an animating question in the literature given public concern over the effects of digital micro-targeting. Kefford finds that campaigns are rarely effective at persuasion, but that data-driven practices are transforming the organizational structures and investments of parties, including blurring the distinction between party members and supporters. This is a fascinating and nuanced account of how data is powering digital and field campaigning, and how its effects might be less directly on voters and more on parties as organizations.” (Dr Daniel Kreiss, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, author of ‘Prototype Politics: Technology Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy’ and ‘Taking our country back: The crafting of networked politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama’)

“How are political parties campaigning in Australia today? Presenting unparalleled insight into the activities of Australian parties, Glenn Kefford dives beneath the hype and sensationalised reporting of political campaigns to offer a detailed, and vitally important discussion of how parties actually work. Dispelling the myth of hyper-professionalised campaigns, Kefford outlines what it means to conduct data-driven campaigning, and shows the diversity of ways in which data is being used by parties today. Offering a vital conceptual contribution and unrivalled empirical insight into Australian parties, this book makes an important contribution to debates on political parties that will resonate far beyond Australia's shores.” (Dr Katharine Dommett, Senior Lecturer in the Public Understanding of Politics, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, author of ‘The Re-imagined Party: Democracy, Change and the Public’)

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

    Glenn Kefford

About the author

Glenn Kefford is a lecturer in political science at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He has previously been employed at Macquarie University in Sydney and at the University of Tasmania as a lecturer in politics. He currently holds a prestigious Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellowship for 2019-2021. His research is in the area of Australian and comparative politics, elections and campaigning. He has published widely on these topics in publications including Party Politics, Parliamentary Affairs and the British Journal of Politics and IR.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-68234-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)